In-scan-ity

finally comes to a screeching halt...

I'd been so good, at least on the outside. I told myself time and time again that I wouldn't succumb to the "what-ifs" this time around. I knew, since last Thursday, that someone out there knew the answers to my questions. Someone knew whether my life would be turned upside down again or whether my stay of execution would be extended. Someone knew whether the tears would be of happiness or of disappointment. That someone was not me.

So I waited. I waited through a weekend and through two days of work. I waited until I got in bed Tuesday night and Greg pulled me close and said, "It's all OK. I promise". How can one promise something like that? But he did. I wouldn't be the first time he knew something to be true before I did...I waited through our walk yesterday morning - for six miles I waited and didn't even mention it more than once. Or maybe twice. But who's counting at this point...

I waited on the way to the appointment, when my heart started to race and I held tightly to his comforting hand. I signed in, and asked the front desk person if I could see the scan - after all that waiting - and she said the doc hadn't signed off yet, so she couldn't let me see, or give me a copy, but that they would later. So, I waited. I waited on the way back, in the exam room, as the nurse Nancy took my blood pressure and heart rate which not surprisingly was a bit higher than normal. When I mentioned this, she said with a laugh, "of course its high - you're HERE." I responded that it probably also had something to do with the fact that I knew that scan results were clipped to that chart. She peeked, and said, "You can exhale now - it's a good one." The tears started to come, and Greg said, "See, I TOLD you. I promised it would be OK!" but still, I needed to wait and hear it from the doc himself.

He came bursting into the room after what seemed like half an hour (which was really probably closer to 10 minutes) and yes, he did burst into the room, waving the scan report. "GREAT, GREAT NEWS!!!" I actually, for the first time in eight years, got up and hugged him. He went over and emphatically shook Greg's hand, all the while saying that it was amazing. That I wouldn't see a better scan report anywhere in the world. That there was nothing. No evidence of cancer cells. No metabolic activity. Nothing.

He sat down on the examining table and talked with us for a while. He told us, repeatedly, how truly amazing this was, and that he wasn't blowing smoke or over-hyping his reaction. That it was really special, very unique, and that he rarely sees responses like this - ones he calls his "miracle patients". I can live with that moniker...

He told us how oncologists have to look at prognosis, and that there's a huge bell curve with the majority in the middle, but that every bell curve has a best case and worst case scenario, and I am by far on the best-case side. He said that it's patients like me who fall into this tiniest of segments. Ones with a strong will, a strong body, and a strong mind. Ones who take care of themselves, and keep active, and have a great support system. That if I was apathetic and overweight and didn't keep myself active, I would not have been where I was. Most importantly, that I had many years ahead of me. He said that all the additional factors that I have incorporated into my life and the fact that I am doing as well as I am is a success for him, because as an oncologist, this result embodies everything he believes in and works towards when treating a patient. In an occupation where one must see so many people declining at times, I can't help but think it must be somewhat uplifting and validating to have a miracle patient or two in the mix. Thank you, Dr. Cavalcant - I hope to continue being your miracle for many years to come...

So, we breathe deeply, we hike, we live, we love, and we look forward to those many more years ahead. I don't like to think of the fact that I flirted that closely with not being there at all, but suppose it's irrelevant since the fact of the matter is, I'm here, and I'll have plenty of hair in the Canyon this Christmas. Maybe we'll even hike to the river...

Tonight, tomorrow, each day - we celebrate life, not forgetting what we have overcome to get here. I know that living with Stage IV always charts an uncertain course, but right now I celebrate, I exhale, and I toast to life. I shyly hold up this victory as a beacon, in the hopes that someone somewhere will have hope, too. I am grateful for the efficacy of Herceptin and that we'll continue to happily do the campfire waltz with NED and not think about the day when he could choose to punch someone else's dance card. Most importantly of all I hug Greg tighter than ever because I know that so much of this success has to do with love and faith...

and I keep going - because it's what I do.

9 comments:

    Oh Jen, I am SO VERY HAPPY for you! As I read this entry, tears of joy welled up in my eyes. Your words left me breathless, and I don't think I even have the words to express just how happy I am to hear such wonderful news! Yes, you are definitely loved, my dear. Sending lots more love and hugs and congrats your way! (((hugs)))

    Crying tears of joy for you! So, so, so happy for you. Just keep showing us how it's done... : )

    it's what you do. : )

    I don't think Greg will mind if you have a threesome with NED.... I love you!!! (all three of you!)

    We all got to be part of a miracle! Thank you, Jen.

    You give all of us that struggle with the PET scan doubts (otherwise known as the OH SHIT, WHAT IF IT'S BACK? fear), you give us HOPE, Quiet Thunder...you give all of us hope......

    God bless NED.....

    On August 29, 2008 at 5:39 PM Anonymous said...

    From someone you do not know ... just sending love.

    ... jayananda's Dad.

    Jen, This is the best news ever. I knew in my heart that you would beat this cancer. I think it's interesting that Beth's cancer is getting better. If you get a chance read her journal and comments, and drop her a note.
    We love you!! Keep up the fight.

    Love, Steve and Bev

    Oh Jen, I have tears in my eyes..SOOOOOO happy for you...Words just can't convey how happy my heart is knowing YOU HAVE WON!...You have handled everything with such grace and class, you have my admiration...Much love to you, and that wonderful hubby of yours...Alot of men could learn from Greg...xoxo...